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No Reason for Pats Fans to Dislike the Josh Gordon Move

Via patriots.com


Well, that happened quickly. In the team's biggest acquisition since trading for Darrelle Revis, the New England Patriots swung for the fences this afternoon by acquiring Josh Gordon from the Cleveland Browns. For reasons I can't understand, this move appears to be very polarizing. I honestly can't find a reason why you wouldn't be a fan of the move. You can be skeptical, and sure, it may not work out, but it's absolutely worth the risk; especially given the price he came at. 

For those who are unaware of the player, this is Josh Gordon. Gordon instantly becomes the team's most talented and athletically gifted wide receiver. He's the type of receiver the Patriots are missing, as evidenced by yesterday's mess in Jacksonville. With Julian Edelman still sidelined, all of New England's current receivers rely on play design to get open. Gordon meanwhile, has the ability to create separation on his own and get chunk yardage. 

Gordon is not only a deep threat, but he's also a guy that can turn a 10 yard catch into a 50 yard gain. He has breakaway speed with great yards after catch ability. He can also go up in traffic and come down with a ball. He can contort his body and make acrobatic catches, and has a great combination of size, speed and strength. Gordon can help fill the hole left by Brandin Cooks' departure, and then some. 

Gordon's best season came in 2013, when he racked up over 1600 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns, in 14 games mind you. The problem is since that season, he has played in just 11 NFL games, missing the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons. 

While on the field, Gordon is a beast, this is the other side of Josh Gordon. The guy clearly has a troubled past. Yes, Gordon has blown more than chances than he probably deserves. Think what you want about the guy, but he has worked hard just to get reinstated by the NFL. Until he proves otherwise, there's no reason to think things will be different just because he's in New England. He definitely doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt at this point, but he has said all the right things since being reinstated. 

The Patriots have brought in these type of players in the past -- "troubled"but talented, questionable character -- call it whatever you want. They've taken chances on guys in the past with mixed results. Randy Moss worked out, Albert Haynesworth not so much. Corey Dillon was great. Aaron Hernandez, well we know how that ended.

If Gordon can keep his focus, this is a steal. The Patriots traded a fifth round pick for a first round talent. It's the same fifth round pick that people around here kill Bill Belichick for stockpiling year after year. Now, they're using a fifth round pick on a guy with proven success in the NFL. 

The one thing that gives me pause about this move is the position. If this were any other position on the field, I'd feel a heck of a lot more confident. I love the move, personally. To me, there's no downside. I'm just not getting my hopes up that it works out.

The Patriots seem to be a place where wide receivers go to die. You honestly can't predict it. It's like picking names out of a hat. Some guys work out, a large majority don't. Is the offense really that complicated? I mean, Rob Gronkowski figured it out. Talent doesn't seem to be any indication. Chris Hogan picked it up, Chad Ochocinco could not. Brandon LaFell fit right in, Joey Galloway didn't make it past week 2. 

If Gordon is able to catch on, once Edelman returns, this offense becomes a nightmare for teams. You'll have three receivers worthy of a double team. They'll have a stud on the outside, a stud in the slot, the best tight end in the game and three capable pass-catching running backs. Then throw in Hogan and Phillip Dorsett for good measure. I don't care how good the defense is, there are simply too many weapons to account for.

The Patriots lack depth at wide receiver, so they went out and got the best one that is knowingly available. His talent level is undeniable, but his commitment has been the question. The move may not work out in the long run, but there really isn't a reason to dislike it. The reward far outweighs the risk. If all goes according to plan, this offense could regain the explosiveness that it's currently missing.

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